Monday, February 28, 2011

Schapelle Corby & The QANTAS Terrorist

Extract from the new book.

Sydney Morning Herald journalist Phillip Cornford wrote an excellent article about Schapelle’s arrest and trial on the 5th of March 2005, called “Weighing the Evidence,” where he looks at some of the background in great depth. He says the boogie board bag was too big for the conveyor, so it was put on a trolly, hauled to one of the piers, and then put in a baggage cannister. It was one of the last items loaded, so it was at the front of the container, which was not locked, merely closed with a canvas flap. It stayed in that vulnerable position for 97 minutes.

Cornford goes on to explain that all the baggage bays and piers at Brisbane Domestic Airport, and Sydney International Airport, were watched by CCTV, but there were no other security measures. They’re big, open areas giving easy access to anyone with an “Airside” security pass.

Amazingly, not a single camera covering these crucial spots was checked by the police, or anyone else in authority, to see if there was any unauthorised access to Schapelle’s bag. Every frame “Vanished,” or was destroyed. Cornford’s investigations also revealed a dangerous fact, there were no inspections of the bags (or vehicles), owned by airport staff with Aviation Security Identification Cards. They had carte blanche to carry and retrieve anything - and considering the case of former QANTAS baggage handler Belal Khazaal, that’s truly frightening. In June 2004, he was arrested on charges relating to terrorism. In 2009, he was sentenced to 12 years. Here’s some quotes, backing Cornford’s findings, from Channel 9 (2005), the “Sunday” programme, in a segment called “Schapelle Corby: A Question of Innocence” . . .

“ROSS COULTHART: Here at Sydney Airport we filmed staff entering and leaving the secure baggage handling area. There is no systematic checking of bags. A criminal could pass through with drugs undetected.”

“ROSS COULTHART: One crucial point both Hughie Williams and Scott Speed make is that it's not just baggage handlers who have the opportunity to plant something in baggage here at Brisbane.

SCOTT SPEED: Once the boogie board's gone through, put onto the barrow, the barrow could go out onto the allocated bay and if it goes around to where you can't see it, round to the satellite, anyone could do it.

ROSS COULTHART: These photographs of unattended baggage sitting on the apron at Brisbane Airport were taken by this airport worker, who asked not to be identified.

ANONYMOUS: I saw unattended baggage in areas that I know are not generally under surveillance with airport cameras. In one occasion there was a trolley load of bags left unattended for in excess of fifty minutes. It demonstrates that somebody with a predisposition to plant something and have it transported from airport to airport can do so quite easily without attracting attention.”